Tesla plans to retrofit its pedestrian warning system in older vehicles

Pedestrian noisemaker on the Tesla Model 3.(Photo: Erik Strait/Instagram)

Tesla is reportedly planning to retrofit its Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) into older Model 3s and Model Ys that were built between specific dates.

For those who aren’t aware, Tesla was required to create and install a PWS in its vehicles due to an NHTSA mandate that set requirements for electric vehicles to make noise when traveling at a speed below 19 MPH. The reasoning was based on the safety of pedestrians who would be walking near an electric vehicle. Due to the lack of a combustion engine in an EV, the cars are extremely quiet when traveling at low rates of speed. While great for noise pollution, it can be somewhat dangerous to pedestrians, especially ones who have vision issues or are blind. The mandate was established by the NHTSA with the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, and all EV makers had until September 1, 2020, to install noisemakers on their vehicles.

First look at Tesla Model 3’s pedestrian noisemaker in action

In typical Tesla fashion, the company didn’t wait until the mandate was required and took action immediately. Model 3s delivered to customers in early September 2019 were outfitted with the noisemaker. An employee of the automaker also stated that all Model 3s built on September 1, 2019, and after would automatically be equipped with the noisemaker. Tesla Owners Online founder and Model 3 owner Trevor Page initially spoke to the employee who confirmed the presence of the Model 3 noisemaker in September 2019.

Page has now also confirmed with a Tesla source that the PWS can be retrofitted in Model 3 vehicles built between July 5, 2019, through September 9, 2020. Page said on his original posting that “this period represents the timing of when the wiring harness was included but not the speaker.” Page added that Model Ys built before August 14th also qualify and that the cost will be $200. It will require a mobile and service visit, and a technician must install it so that the car can identify it.

“Refer to Tesla SI-21-90-001 when you make an appointment to have it installed for reference,” Page advised.

Page also broke the story of the noisemakers being installed in late 2019.

The retrofit for the PWS isn’t all about safety, though. It also holds some entertainment benefits. The speaker is utilized by Tesla’s Boombox feature that was added with the Version 10 Software. This allows owners to play sounds audibly for those outside the vehicle to hear, and custom noises have become quite the buzz on some social media outlets like TikTok, where Tesla owners show the vast array of audio selections that they choose to play for spectators. Musk considered this addition in late 2020, and it appears that Service techs will now install the external speaker for those vehicles that qualify.

Will you equip your vehicle with the PWS? Let us know in the comments if you will or won’t, and explain your decision. You can also reach me personally at joey@teslarati.com or @KlenderJoey on Twitter.

Joey Klender: Transportation Writer | Penn State Alum | Future World Series of Poker Bracelet Holder 🚀 🛰 ☀️ 🚘 🧠 🕳
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